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A longitudinal study of long-term renal outcome after pediatric liver transplantation in relation to CNI exposure

Title: A longitudinal study of long-term renal outcome after pediatric liver transplantation in relation to CNI exposure

Source: Pediatric Transplantation 2023, Dec 27. [E-publication]

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Date of publication: December 2023

Publication type: Retrospective single centre study

Abstract: Background: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is reported in 20%-30% of children after liver transplantation (LT). One of the proposed underlying causes is the long-term exposure to tacrolimus, a calcineurin inhibitor (CNI), which is the main immunosuppressive drug used after LT. Variation in tacrolimus absolute exposure and relative dose requirements are believed to be important risk factors for developing CNI-associated nephrotoxicity.

Aim: To describe the long-term renal outcome of pediatric LT recipients and determine the effects of tacrolimus exposure on renal outcome parameters.

Methods: Retrospective single center study of renal function (GFR, proteinuria) and pharmacokinetic parameters (C0 , AUC0-12h ) obtained during annual follow-up in children after liver transplantation, between 1998 and 2019. Relevant pharmacogenetic variants for tacrolimus disposition (CYP3A5 and ABCB1) were determined in recipients and donors. The evolution of individual renal function and tacrolimus exposure was evaluated using linear mixed models for repeated measurements.

Results: Twenty-six children were included (mean follow-up: 10.4 years (range 2-18.9)). Mean estimated GFR was 109.3 (SE: 7.4), vs. measured: 91.3 mL/min/1.73 m2 (SE: 6.3), which remained stable during follow-up. CKD stage ≥2 was observed in 32.8% of the visits based on eGFR versus 50.0% on mGFR. CKD stage ≥3 was uncommon (4.1% and 6.2% resp.). Mean tacrolimus C0 was 5.3 ng/mL (SE: 2.5) with a AUC0-12h of 72.7 ng*h/mL (SE: 30.3), which demonstrated a small decrease during follow-up. There was a negative correlation between C0 and mGFR (rS = -0.3; p < .001). We found no correlation between GFR and tacrolimus dose requirements ((ng/mL)/(mg/kg)) or pharmacogenetic background.

Conclusion: Renal function during long-term follow-up after pediatric LT remained stable for the majority of our cohort. However, mild CKD was relatively common, warranting follow-up into adulthood. Although absolute tacrolimus exposure has a small depressing effect on concurrent GFR, there is no progressive deterioration of GFR due to long-term exposure, dose requirements or genetic background under the current target levels. These findings should be confirmed in a larger sample set, ideally including data from multiple centers.

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